What to Expect at the Writing Center
Writing Center Teaching Goal
The Writing Center represents one of Western Michigan University’s commitments to helping students learn how to learn.
Our goal is to help writers improve their overall writing choices.
What We Do, Given Our Goal
During a 50-minute appointment or 20-minute drop-in consultation, we will do the following:
- Assess the needs of the writer by discussing an assignment or reviewing a text
- Determine, on a top-down basis, the most important meaning-making need/s the writer requires to be able to improve his/her writing choices. We often ask the following questions:
- Did the writer meet the needs of the assignment?
- Did the writer meet the needs of the readers?
- Did the writer deliver information in an appropriate way (organized, developed, cohesive, grammatically correct, stylistically appropriate for the writer's discipline and purpose, etc.)?
- Help the writer understand and apply options for improving writing choices. We may discuss
- rhetorical strategies—idea getting methods, organizational approaches, audience analyses and expectations, paragraph development, textual cohesion, etc.
- document clarity methods—targeted proofreading strategies, personal error pattern analyses, focused mechanics lessons (based on writer’s text or questions)
- documentation systems—use of Chicago Manual, MLA, and APA reference styles
What We Don’t Do, Given Our Goal
We will not
- write papers or parts of papers for writers
- correct papers while the writers sit passively waiting for their texts to be improved
- offer a potential grade on an assignment
- send a note to a professor on behalf of a student unless the student engages in a consultation
- share information about the work students and consultants have done in the Writing Center unless the student gives us permission to do so